Sunday, May 28, 2017

Another Democrat obsessed with deviants

When educational standards generally are so low you would think that that would be the debate.  Instead it is the liberty of Christians to run Christian schools that was at issue.  Deviants were perfectly at liberty to go to the government schools so favored by the Left so what does it matter what Christian schools do?  Isn't it "diversity"?

US Representative Katherine Clark, a Melrose Democrat who has emerged as a leading critic of the Trump administration, wanted a simple answer Wednesday from US Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.

The secretary was testifying before a House appropriations subcommittee to sell the president’s education funding proposals, including a plan to sink $1.4 billion into a school choice initiative.

Clark waited patiently for her turn to question DeVos in the packed hearing room, and when the opportunity came, she asked about the private Lighthouse Christian Academy in Bloomington, Ind.

The school, Clark said, receives more than $665,000 in state vouchers, while noting in its handbook that it may deny admission to students from families where homosexual or “alternate gender identity” is practiced.

Leaning into her microphone and shaking her fist, Clark asked: If Indiana seeks federal funding as part of the president’s proposed voucher program, “will you stand up that this school be open to all students?”

All eyes turned to DeVos.

She thanked Clark for the inquiry and grinned as she tried to pivot to “broadly” discussing school choice.

Clark pounced, again shaking her fist and asking “is there a line for you on state flexibility?” Her eyes narrowing, Clark described DeVos as “the backstop for students and their right to access a quality education.”

“Would you in this case say ‘we are going to overrule and you cannot discriminate, whether it be on sexual orientation, race, special needs in our voucher programs.’ Will that be a guarantee from you for our students?” Clark asked.

DeVos demurred, extending a rocky back-and-forth between the officials, as a crowd of lawmakers and their aides, as well as reporters, watched the clash play out in the ornate chambers.

“For states who have programs that allow for parents to make choices, they set up the rules around that . . . ” DeVos said, as the glare of CSPAN cameras again captured her strained grin.

“So that’s a no,” Clark interjected, according to a video excerpt of the testimony posted to the congresswoman’s Twitter feed.

“Do you see any circumstance where the federal Department of Education under your leadership would say that a school was not qualified? What if they said ‘we are not accepting African-American students,’ but that was OK with the state? Does the state trump, do you see any situation where you would step in?” DeVos replied that federal Title IX protections are “broadly applicable across the board,” but she did not answer Clark directly.

“When it comes to parents making choices on behalf of their students . . . ” DeVos said. An incredulous Clark again interrupted, telling DeVos, “This isn’t about parents making choices. This is about use of federal dollars. . . . Would you say to Indiana: ‘That school cannot discriminate against LGBT students if you want to receive federal dollars, or would you say the state has the flexibility in this situation?”

“I want to make sure I get this right,” Clark said. “There is no situation of discrimination or exclusion, that if a state approved it for its voucher program, that you would step in and say ‘that’s not how we’re going to use our federal dollars.’ . . . Is that your testimony?”

DeVos reverted to talking points about school choice.

“The bottom line is, we believe that parents are the best equipped to make choices for their children’s schooling and education decisions,” she said. “Too many children today are trapped in schools that don’t work for them. We have do to do something different. . . . That is the focus, and states and local communities are best equipped to make these decisions.”

Clark was indignant. “I am shocked that you cannot come up with one example of discrimination that you would stand up for students,” she said, as the chairman banged his gavel to end the questioning.

Liz Hill, a spokeswoman for the US Department of Education, defended DeVos on Wednesday evening in statement.

“As Secretary DeVos has made clear time and time again, protecting students’ civil rights under federal law is one of the department’s core missions,” Hill said. “The line of questioning during today’s hearing was about a theoretical voucher program the department has not proposed and included topics that aren’t covered under current federal law.”

Hill added that there is “a fundamental misunderstanding about the federal and state roles in education. When states design programs, and when schools implement them, it is incumbent on them to adhere to federal law. The Department of Education can and will intervene when federal law is broken.”

Hill said the federal grant program under consideration “would support states who apply for funding to develop school choice programs, and those states’ plans must adhere to federal law.”

But Clark doubled down on her criticism in a phone interview Wednesday night.

“[DeVos’s] testimony today showed that she has all the wrong instincts for this position,” Clark said. “The fact that she couldn’t find a way to stand up [against] something as fundamental as discrimination is, in my opinion, appalling and dangerous.”


Trump Budget Reduces Government's Role in Higher Ed, Will Curtail Runaway Tuition Prices

President Donald Trump released his budget proposal on Tuesday, which includes some dramatic changes to higher education funding.

While there is still room for improvement, the president's proposals would be a significant first step in reducing the federal government's role in higher education and giving much-needed relief to the U.S. taxpayer.

Elimination of Public Service Loan Forgiveness

The president's budget proposal eliminates the costly Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, which offers special student loan forgiveness to graduates for performing certain public service jobs.

This will be welcome news to taxpayers, who have been picking up the tab for federal employees who, under this policy, have their loans forgiven after just 10 years of payments.

Loan forgiveness in general is bad policy-it encourages students to take on large amounts of debt, often without a plan to pay it back. In particular, loan forgiveness for public service elevates public sector work over the private sector.

The administration is correct to move away from this misguided policy.

Unfortunately, though, the president's budget would allow all students to take advantage of loan forgiveness after 15 years, only reducing it from 20.

Loan repayment policies that are based on income already protect students from burdensome loan payments. These generous loan forgiveness policies leave taxpayers on the hook for much of the cost of a college student's education.

Year-Round Pell Grants

The president's budget also allows students to use their Pell Grant dollars year-round, which may offer needed flexibility to students who want to finish their degree faster.

However, any changes to the Pell Grant system should focus those funds on truly low-income students, and should not increase overall Pell spending.

Consolidation of Federal Loans

This budget consolidates the current five loan programs into a single loan option. This will streamline federal lending, and has the potential to infuse fiscal responsibility to the system if terms are aligned with the current terms of the Graduate Stafford Loan Program.

Additionally, all loans should be issued with both an annual and lifetime borrowing cap. These reforms could both help put downward pressure on college tuition prices and insulate taxpayers from high rates of default.

As my colleague Jamie Hall and I recently outlined:

    "Issuing all future direct loans under a single set of terms would simplify the program and eliminate some perverse incentives in current law ... Issuing all new loans under the current terms of Graduate Stafford Loans would generate savings relative to the [Congressional Budget Office] baseline of $9.4 billion under [Federal Credit Reform Act accounting], or a cost of $2.5 billion under [Fair Value] accounting, closer to revenue neutrality than any other loan type."

Additionally, this budget proposes the elimination of loan interest subsidies.

Many economists have pointed to the heavy subsidization of federal student loans as one of the primary drivers of rising tuition. The elimination of subsidized loans will be a smart first step in deflating the student loan bubble and making college more affordable based on market principles.

Consolidating federal student loans into a single option and eliminating loan interest subsidies may help achieve the added benefit of revitalizing the private lending market.

The president's proposal overall reduces the federal government's role in higher education and will encourage more students to turn to the private market to finance their loans. That will protect U.S. taxpayers while curtailing runaway tuition prices.


Nazism has returned to America

Students at Evergreen State College - a school notable for its far-left politics and its preference for measuring students' performance with "narrative evaluations" instead of grades - have seized control of their campus and are reportedly seeking hostages following a confrontation with a biology professor who objected to a planned demonstration that asked white students and faculty to voluntarily leave campus for a day, the Washington Times reports.

The protest began Tuesday morning when an angry mob of SJW's confronted Professor Bret Weinstein after he had sent an email to faculty and staff explaining his reasoning for opposing the demonstration.

Now, Weinstein's reportedly been told to avoid campus because his safety is at risk.

“Police told me protesters stopped cars yesterday, demanding information about occupants,” Mr. Weinstein told The Washington Times. “They believe I was being sought. It appears that the campus has been under the effective control of protesters since 9:30 a.m. Tuesday. Police are on lockdown, hamstrung by the college administration. Students, staff and faculty are not safe.

A spokesman for the Evergreen Department of Police Services confirmed the agency had been in contact with Mr. Weinstein. He said officers would be in touch with The Times, but three subsequent phone calls were not returned.”

Following the modus operandi of protests at colleges like U.C. Berkeley, the angry mob of SJWs who confronted Weinstein refused to listen as he attempted to calmly explain his reasoning, prefering instead to hurl obscenities at him while demanding his resignation.

“Fuck you, you piece of shit,” once of them screamed.

When police arrived, presumably drawn by the uproar, the students fled to the library, where they barricaded themselves inside the Trans & Queer Unity Lounge and asked white students to patrol the halls for any police "intruders."

At a meeting between the administration and students later that day, University President George S. Bridges quickly assured the crowd that no students would be punished for their involvement in the demonstrations and promised a "major reiew" of what happened and why.

“First and foremost, I want to state that there will be, as far as I know, no charges filed against any students involved in actions that occurred this morning,” Mr. Bridges said. “We will be conducting a major review, an investigation of all that occurred and will be reporting back to you, the campus community, about exactly what happened, why it happened and what we intend to do about the incident — not the incident, excuse me, the actions that were taken, both students, staff and faculty involved.”

Weinstein explained his predicament to a local reporter on Thursday who met him at Sylvester Park in downtown Olympia, Wash., where he is temporarily holding classes until it's deemed safe for him to return to campus.

“We are unable to talk because there’s too much of a gap in the narrative between what they believe is taking place and what’s actually taking place."

“The narrative suggests that I’m a person whose benefiting from privilege and that I’m trying to preserve that privilege.”

Weinstein's brother, Eric Weinstein, told the Washington Times that the persecution of his brother is "ironic" given his center-left politics and staunch opposition to racism.

“If you had asked me who is one of racism’s most powerful foes, I would have said Bret Weinstein,” Eric Weinstein told The Times.

“There’s something sort of ‘Twilight Zone’ about one of the most thoughtful commentators on race, at one of the most progressive schools in the country, getting called a racist.”

Weinstein’s email objecting to the “Day of Absence Day of Presence” protest was circulated on Twitter. In it, he characterizes organizers’ demand that white students vacate campus for a day as “an act of repression.”

"There is a huge difference between a group or coalition deciding to voluntarily absent themselves from a shared space in order to highlight their vital and under-appreciated roles (the theme of the Douglas Turner Ward play Day of Absence, as well as the recent Women's Day walkout), and a group or coalition encouraging another group to go away. The first is a forceful call to consciousness....the second is a show of force and an act of oppression in and of itself.


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